Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

The Other Emerson

2010

Branka Arsi and Cary Wolfe, editors
Afterword by Stanley Cavell

The Other Emerson

New readings of Ralph Waldo Emerson that reclaim his work for philosophy

Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the most significant figures in nineteenth-century American literature and culture—indeed, this collection argues, in the history of philosophy. The Other Emerson is a thorough reassessment of the philosophical underpinnings, theoretical innovations, and ethical and political implications of the prose writings of one of America’s most enduring thinkers.

The Other Emerson is a fascinating example of the vital movement in Emerson scholarship towards philosophy which, though at times still speculative, show in this volume some of the first signs of its maturity and its potential to command the field.

Journal of American Studies

Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the most significant figures in nineteenth-century American literature and culture—indeed, this collection argues, in the history of philosophy. The Other Emerson is a thorough reassessment of the philosophical underpinnings, theoretical innovations, and ethical and political implications of the prose writings of one of America’s most enduring thinkers.

Considering Emerson first and foremost as a daring and original thinker, The Other Emerson focuses on three Emersonian subjects—subjectivity, the political, and the nature of philosophy—and ranges in topic from Emerson’s relationships to slavery and mourning to his place in the development of Romanticism as reread by contemporary systems theory. It is Emerson’s appreciation of truth’s instability that links him to the European philosophical tradition.

Contributors: Eduardo Cadava, Princeton U; Sharon Cameron, Johns Hopkins U; Russell B. Goodman, U of New Mexico; Paul Grimstad, Yale U; Eric Keenaghan, U at Albany, SUNY; Gregg Lambert, Syracuse U; Sandra Laugier, Université de Picardie Jules Verne; Donald Pease, Dartmouth College.

The Other Emerson

Branka Arsić is associate professor of American literature at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She is author of On Leaving, a Reading in Emerson and Passive Constitutions or 7½ Times Bartleby.

Cary Wolfe is Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor of English at Rice University.

Stanley Cavell is the Walter M. Cabot Professor Emeritus of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value at Harvard University.

The Other Emerson

The Other Emerson is a fascinating example of the vital movement in Emerson scholarship towards philosophy which, though at times still speculative, show in this volume some of the first signs of its maturity and its potential to command the field.

Journal of American Studies

This is an important collection of essays not only because it gathers together ground-breaking Emerson scholars but also, particularly, because its thesis is to present other Emersons to challenge our preconceived ideas about his body of writing.

The Year’s Work in English Studies

Should be of interest not only to discussions in nineteenth-century American literature and philosophy but to current debates about the status of thought, politics, and subjectivity in the Western philosophical tradition more generally.

Culture Critique

The Other Emerson

Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Branka Arsić and Cary Wolfe

I. Rethinking Subjectivity
1. The Way of Life by Abandonment: Emerson’s Impersonal
Sharon Cameron
2. Paths of Coherence through Emerson’s Philosophy: The Case of “Nominalist and Realist”
Russell B. Goodman
3. Brain Walks: Emerson on Thinking
Branka Arsić

II. Rethinking the Political
4. The Guano of History
Eduardo Cadava
5. “Experience,” Anti-Slavery, and the Crisis of Emersonianism
Donald E. Pease
6. Reading Emerson, In Other Times: On a Politics of Solitude and an Ethics of Risk
Eric Keenaghan
7. Emerson, Skepticism, and Politics
Sandra Laugier

III. Rethinking Philosophy
8. Emerson, or Man Thinking
Gregg Lambert
9. Emerson’s Adjacencies: Radical Empiricism in Nature
Paul Grimstad
10. “The Eye is the First Circle”: Emerson’s “Romanticism,” Cavell’s Skepticism, Luhmann’s Modernity
Cary Wolfe

Afterword
Stanley Cavell

Contributors
Index